Case Studies

Negligent treatment for ectopic pregnancy secures almost £40k for midwife client

October 17, 2023
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The Incident   

Our client is a midwife, who suffered allegedly negligent treatment in the Trust she worked at.  

The case concerned alleged negligent treatment in relation to the Claimant’s pregnancy, which was subsequently diagnosed as an ectopic pregnancy and required surgery. Our client had a previous ectopic pregnancy which resulted in the loss of one of her fallopian tubes. Unfortunately, the loss of her remaining fallopian tube in the surgery to treat the ectopic pregnancy resulted in her becoming infertile, and meant that her ability to conceive naturally was taken away from her. 

The case   

As a result of the alleged negligence, our client required surgery to remove her remaining fallopian tube which made her infertile. This meant her only option to have children, was through IVF. As a result, she also suffered emotional distress for which she has required counselling.  

Our position was that there was a failure to discuss or offer Methotrexate as treatment for ectopic pregnancy, and if the medication had been given surgery should have been avoided and the fallopian tube saved. 

Causation was fully denied by Defendant and stated that the Claimant already had sub-fertility, and any delay in the diagnosis or treatment of the ectopic pregnancy would not have made any impact on the outcome. The essence of the Defendant’s argument was that they believe Methotrexate would have failed and the same surgery required in any event, resulting in infertility. 

We obtained expert evidence from the fields of Gynaecology and Psychology.  

The aftermath  

Our client had one child at the time of the alleged negligence. Following the removal of the second fallopian tube, the Claimant received IVF and gave birth to second child. However, she had to pay privately for the IVF, as she was not eligible for the NHS scheme, due to already having one child.  

During the pregnancy, our client felt very anxious after her previous experience with the ectopic pregnancy.  

The failure to diagnose the ectopic pregnancy also had a massive psychological impact on the Claimant, and she attended counselling and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy to aid her recovery.  

As a midwife, she had always been an advocate for women, and she felt disappointed she was not an advocate for herself by insisting on further investigations.  

The alleged negligence impacted her work life. She had a period of sick leave due to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and anxiety. She previously carried out a dual role; working on the ward and the rest in an office based advisory role. She could no longer perform the maternity clinical role after this incident, as she was suffering panic attacks.  

The case outcome  

We issued court proceedings on the basis that the Defendant continued to dispute the claim and failed to adopt our proposal for alternative dispute resolution.  The case continued to be keenly fought through the stages of exchanging witness and expert evidence.  We tested the evidence of our experts in conference.  Our gynaecology expert remained firm in the scheduled discussion with the opposing expert, and meaningful settlement discussions began.   

Following negotiations between the parties, a settlement of £38,500 was agreed. The damages award included a payment for the injury and her losses, which included the IVF treatment. With the settlement, the client can now complete the psychiatric treatment which was recommended to help aid her recovery.  Most importantly she can hopefully begin to achieve some closure on an extremely distressing period in her life and move forward once again with her career. 

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